With a news brief in the 9 a.m. ET hour on Friday, NBC’s Today jumped on a report that Hillary Clinton tried to blame former Secretary of State Colin Powell for her e-mail scandal during conversations with the FBI. The morning show’s news anchor Sheinelle Jones told viewers: “...sources tell NBC News that Hillary Clinton told the FBI that former Secretary of State Colin Powell recommended that she use a private e-mail account for unclassified communication.”
Clinton of course sent classified information using her private e-mail, which is what prompted the criminal investigation into the matter. Jones continued: “Clinton says Powell made the suggestion both at a dinner party shortly after Clinton took over at the State Department in 2009 and also in an e-mail exchange around the same time.”
Only minutes later on MSNBC, correspondent Kristen Welker read a statement from Powell’s office denying Clinton’s claim: “Just moments ago, Andrea Mitchell received a statement from aides to former Secretary of State Colin Powell. I’m going to read you a little bit of it....It reads, ‘General Powell has no recollection of the dinner conversation.’”
Apparently NBC’s rush to parrot the latest Clinton campaign spin caused the network to stumble over the facts.
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In contrast, CBS This Morning managed to report the same story and include Powell’s denial. In a news brief, co-host Gayle King mentioned:
The New York Times says that Hillary Clinton told investigators that former Secretary of State Colin Powell advised her to use private e-mail. Now that’s according to FBI notes given to Congress. An upcoming book says Powell told then-Secretary Clinton to use her own e-mail except for classified communications. Powell's office has released a statement saying he has no recollection of that conversation, but be did write to her about how personal e-mail has vastly improved communications.
ABC’s Good Morning America skipped the development.
Here is a full transcript of the August 19 news brief on Today:
9:30 AM ET
SHEINELLE JONES: To politics now, sources tell NBC News that Hillary Clinton told the FBI that former Secretary of State Colin Powell recommended that she use a private e-mail account for unclassified communication.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Clinton Email Revelation; Told FBI Powell Advised Personal Account Use]
Clinton says Powell made the suggestion both at a dinner party shortly after Clinton took over at the State Department in 2009 and also in an e-mail exchange around the same time. Sources say that Clinton gave that account to investigators last month.